Washington DC Background Check Laws

What are Washington DC employment background check laws?

We update this overview of Washington, D.C. background check laws and ban-the-box rules often. But laws change quickly, and we cannot guarantee all information is current. Always consult your attorney for legal advice.

FCRA District Laws Ban-The-Box

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

In order to set a standard for hiring policies, the federal government created the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, which monitors and protects both employers and job candidates.

District Laws

DC Code Sec. 2-1402.66 Our Take: Employers are prohibited from requesting that a job applicant supply an arrest record at his or her own expense
Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act of 2016 Our Take: With a few exceptions, D.C. employers are prohibited from requesting or utilizing a current or prospective employee's credit information when making an employment decision.
DC Code Sec. 2-1402.66 Our Take: DC Employers are prohibited from requesting that a job applicant supply an "arrest record" at his or her own expense. Please note that "arrest record" does not mean "consumer report."

Ban-The-Box And FAir Hiring Laws

District Laws — Public and PRIVate Companies

Who Must Follow: This ban-the-box law applies to all employers in the District of Columbia who employ more than 10 people within the District. 

Timing of inquiry: Employers in the District of Columbia may only inquire into criminal history after making a conditional offer. 

Consideration of records: The employer may only ask about criminal conviction(s) and pending cases. The employer can never inquire into arrests or criminal accusations that aren't pending. 

Adverse action implications:

  • Pre-adverse action notice: A copy of the document Notice of Right to File Complaint must be included with a pre-adverse action notice.
  • Individualized assessment: Employers covered under this law must conduct an individualized assessment prior to sending a final adverse action notice.
  • Revocation of conditional offer: An employer may only take an adverse action against an applicant for a legitimate business reason. The employer’s determination of a legitimate business reason must be reasonable in light of the individualized assessment, which incorporates EEOC criteria.
  • Candidate's right to access: If an applicant believes that a conditional offer was terminated on the basis of a criminal conviction, the applicant may request, within 30 days after the adverse action, that the employer provide the applicant within 30 days after the receipt of the request:
    1. A copy of any and all records procured by the employer in consideration of the applicant, including criminal records; and
    2. A notice that advises the applicant of his or her opportunity to file an administrative complaint with the Office of Human Rights.
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If you’re confused by overlapping ban-the-box, FCRA, and EEOC requirements, you’re not alone.

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